Flight VA244: Arianespace’s Ariane 5 launch for the Galileo constellation and Europe
For its fourth launch of the year, Arianespace will orbit four more satellites (satellites 23 to 26) for the Galileo constellation. This mission is being performed on behalf of the European Commission under a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).
For the third time, an Ariane 5 ES version will be used to orbit satellites in Europe’s own satellite navigation system; with all Galileo spacecraft having been launched to date by Arianespace. Ariane 6 will take over from 2020.
Arianespace is proud to mobilize its entire family of launch vehicles for the benefit of Europe’s ambitions and its independent access to space.
The Flight VA244 will be from Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) in Kourou, French Guiana.
The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Friday, July 20, 2018 in Kourou, to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.
Galileo is Europe’s own global navigation satellite system, providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control. Currently providing Initial Services, Galileo is interoperable with GPS and Glonass, the U.S. and Russian global satellite navigation systems. By offering dual frequencies as standard, Galileo is set to deliver real-time positioning accuracy down to the meter range.
The constellation will count 24 operational satellites plus in-orbit spares, of which 22 already have been put into orbit by Arianespace.
In July 2017, ESA officially transferred the supervision of Galileo in-orbit operations to the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), on behalf of the European Union. After the VA244 launch, the GSA will be responsible for operating the satellites as soon as they are separated from the launcher. These operations of setting up and operating the system will be done in collaboration with ESA.
The Galileo satellites are built by prime contractor OHB System in Bremen, Germany, with the payloads supplied by UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), which is an Airbus Defense and Space affiliate.
To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary in French and English from the launch site), go to arianespace.com or to youtube.com/arianespace on July 25, 2018, beginning 20 minutes before liftoff.
Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 570 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.
Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 17 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.